Today, I've allowed the memories of Christmas pasts to become more than just snapshots. Snippets from this one and that one all run together. A day or two away from the children and presents and trees with lights, and my emotions are able to flow uninterrrupted.
I unearthed some of the old Christmas cards that I had been searching for.
We called the first house we lived in "the old house" so when I will refer to the "old house" you'll know I'm referring to the days when my brother and I were the only siblings, before I was five.
Santa came to see me once in the old house. Maybe it's the old reels in my mind that I remember or maybe it was really just the 8 mm films that we watched over and over again. Either way, I can see it clearly. Santa was really Mr. Phil (Moye) as the family at home would know. We were the lucky ones because Santa always came to see us on Christmas Eve while we were riding around looking at lights. In the old house, Santa came once while we were saying our prayers. He brought my brother a cowboy suit with a holster and cap gun. He even got the black boots and cowboy hat and a rifle too. I got a baby in it's own carrying case.
Daddy was always sad at Christmas. We always went to see our cousins and grandparents on Christmas Day. One of my earliest memories was of going to my daddy's brother's house. I couldn't have been but 3. It was Christmas but there was no one home. It was quiet and I still feel sad thinking about it. I remember talking loudly and mama shushing me. Daddy put me up on a yellow stool and peeled an orange for me. He was crying. As a child, I never understood this. I remember many times asking Daddy, "Why are you so sad? It's Christmas." He'd say, "I don't have family anymore." I always said, "But you have us." Later, some 40 years I learned why Christmas was so sad. He lost his best friend and brother that day, Christmas 1963.
Mama made our clothes. I remember seeing pictures of this dress. It was red. We all got Christmas pjs every year. Pajamas, underware and shoes were the only things we wore that came from a store.
Mama saw a coat she wanted for me in the Sears Christmas Catalog. She made her own pattern from newspaper and daddy said, "You looked better than the Sears Roebuck Catalog."
My most memorable Christmas was the year we all sang around the piano. I wanted to create a memory moment so I lit candles. Someone forgot to blow them out and we awoke the the smell of burning wood.
Our baby brother died in an accident a couple of weeks before he turned 6. Christmas was never the same again. We stopped going to the cousins house and only went to see Granny and Granddaddy.
It's the melancholy rainy days that make me ponder years gone by.